Antville Project

RSS truncated?

Don't know since when, but probably since the antville-upgrade, rss-feeds are truncated. This is very annoying for people like me using rss-reader to scan a dozen of antville-logs on a daily basis. I cannot remember having seen any discussion about this, and if one adds this as new feature I think the question of truncating the feed after x chars is something the weblog-owner should decide...

ps: rss-related, but different problem: as noticed at this entry sometimes the title of a story doesnt make its way into the rss-feed and is replaced by "..."


docbuelle, September 14, 2002 at 11:18:16 AM CEST

Re: RSS truncated?

Stimmt, habe ich mit Feed-Reader auch gesehen.

Für mich noch unangenehmer: obwohl im Template/Skin die e-mail maskiert ist, wird sie von rss-Readern im Klartext angegeben - daß ich seitdem mehr Spam kriege, liegt auf der Hand.


hns, September 14, 2002 at 1:38:43 PM CEST

Spam Mail

Vielleicht sollten wir zusätzlich zum Encodieren der Email das @ durch " AT " ersetzen? Also z.b. "hannes AT"?


tobi, September 14, 2002 at 2:06:40 PM CEST

Re: Re: RSS truncated?

well, i think the e-mail address surely will be displayed clear-text in a browser and the like. however in the source code it still should be encoded as entities (could you please verifiy this?).

that means, a "spam spider" should only find entities and thus collect an invalid e-mail address. but certainly it's only a question of time and propagation until the spammers get it and react with appropriate decoding...


lex, September 14, 2002 at 5:06:23 PM CEST


Im not really sure if mail harvesters out there really are so stupid not being able to interpret entities. Also, I cannot remember having seen non-masked emails in the feed since the upgrade; docbuelle, isnt it possible that your rss-reader unmasks them automatically?


docbuelle, September 15, 2002 at 6:47:10 PM CEST

Re: Re: RSS truncated?

@ lex: yes, I think so, the rss-reader I used unmasks them automatically.

@ tobi: in IE 5.5/Win there are entities instead of the clear e-mail-adress; I could not verify this in IE/Mac, since the browser crashes all the time when trying to open rss-feeds (we discussed this problem in antville-help, and it is no problem for me) I don't know if this is possible: why not skip the e-mail in the template for rss-readers? If anybody wants to know the adress, he or she could easily go to the site itself.


... comment
tobi, September 14, 2002 at 2:20:37 PM CEST

Re: RSS truncated?

quote from the rss 1.0 spec:

5.3.3 <description>

A brief description of the channel's content, function, source, etc.

Syntax: <description>{channel_description}</description> Requirement: Required Model: (#PCDATA) (Suggested) Maximum Length: 500

so i did as they suggested (because i did not want to add yet another custom rss version :)

concerning titles not getting into the rss feed: i don't know if this is the case in your example but since the introduction of the extended story model in antville we have a general problem with rss feeds. if you think of a site not using the title and text fields of a story at all the corresponding rss items will be completely empty.


lex, September 14, 2002 at 5:03:28 PM CEST

Re: Re: RSS truncated?

well, we had an existing rss model for antville and everyone was more or less happy. I really don't understand why such a limitation has now been introduced. The maximum length of a feed should be defined by the weblog owner in the preferences, and nowhere else. Not everyone posts stories with <500 chars, there are lots of people out there that only publish one story a day, appending additional text from time to time (e.g. smi).

Btw, the weblog owner should also have the option to configure the number of stories in the feed - for some out there 10 stories are half a year, for others less than 2 days (e.g. various groupblogs).

I'm sorry, but this is the most annoying chance in antville ever, and I'm very unhappy. I'm now forced to spend an additional hour every day to read the weblogs I like - what for? This limitation was not a question of performance or technical problems, it only forces everyone back to using webbrowsers all day long.


tobi, September 14, 2002 at 8:20:53 PM CEST

Re: Re: RSS truncated?

the simple reason for this is that the former rss feed did not comply to the standards. moreover (and here i think our opinions totally differ from each other), as i said here, i don't consider rss feeds as a replacement for a site (maybe not yet).

currently, you don't get comments in the feed, you don't get images or files, you don't even get any markup, you only get a summary of the site with text-only descriptions of stories that are shortened if they exceed a limit as suggested by the rdf specs.

i think this is ok, but if it should be a big downturn for the crowd out there i am open to be convinced (and please remind yourself that everything is in the flow here at antville – as well as for rss/rdf generally).

seems this rss thing in fact has its ideologic traps...

ps. currently, the only possibility to change the amount of items in a feed is by adding "?max=numberOfItems" to the rss url, e.g.


dm42, September 15, 2002 at 11:38:25 AM CEST

Re: Re: RSS truncated?

@tobi: html-comments are not removed entirely see: for an example

comment start is removed, but comment-content and comment-end stay visible (i admit, there is html markup inside the comment, but anyway)

btw: i strongly suggest an additional txt syndication-format - following the rss3.0 spec (look at no kidding !) you almost did all the work for it ;-)


tobi, September 15, 2002 at 12:01:03 PM CEST

Re: Re: RSS truncated?

yes, i see. i assume that's due to the helma html renderer but have to check first before i make any suspicions...

ad rss 3.0: i refuse to follow every new rss version that's growing like weed out there at the moment. if i'll get the impression that there is something stable enough to implement, i will do it (however, others certainly are welcome to contribute).

to turn this discussion away from rss: what about other formats, e.g. for mobile devices (and i am not talking about wap)?


lex, September 15, 2002 at 12:20:54 PM CEST

Re: Re: RSS truncated?

"i don't consider rss feeds as a replacement for a site" - html wasnt designed with the idea of formatting the layout with tables and 1x1px gifs. It's what the users make, what counts. Fact is, that many people are using RSS-reader to gather the information they want. Of course comments aren't available (images and markup are, as >50% of the feeds I scan daily show me), but I still can decide with a single click if Im interested in the comments. Right now the text is simply truncated, not even showing that it is (who says that the ... defines a truncation and not someting else) - if one decides to truncate the end should look like e.g. [... 465chars left].

As for the maximum, again, it's not the reader of the feed that should know he should add a parameter to the URL of the feed, but the owner of the website should decide:

  • truncation yes/no, after x chars.
  • number of stories available in feed
  • email address in feed
  • images and other simple (paragraph!!, bold, italics) markup

Please let's not follow a theoretical proposal of rss but offer users what they want. And please let's discuss such changes somewhere before quitely introducing them (also the now necessary redirect of /rss10 to /rss), thanks.


tobi, September 16, 2002 at 10:37:38 AM CEST

Re: Re: RSS truncated?

offer users what they want

you're kidding, aren't you? this is close to a flame-bait, my dear mr command-and-conquer.

besides that, the content of some of your suggestions are ok and i will think about it.


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